Monthly Archives: September 2009

John Gapper

This seems to be a week for companies to put the squeeze on executives whom they do not want to take the top job.

Jamie Dimon,  chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, has reshuffled the ranks to push out Bill Winters, co-head of its investment bank. BBVA, the Spanish bank, has prompted the resignation of José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, its chief executive, by re-appointing Francisco González, executive chairman, to the board. Read more

John Gapper

Is China becoming the Silicon Valley of the green world?

The question is prompted by the news that Wang Chuanfu, founder and chairman of BYD, the battery and electric car company, is now estimated to be China’s richest person, followed Zhang Yin, whose family controls Nine Dragons Paper, a paper recycling and packaging company. Read more

John Gapper

Someone at AT&T is a reader of this blog, it seems.

One of my posts was last week picked up by AT&T and quoted at length in a complaint that the company made on Friday to the Federal Communications Commission about Google Voice. The first I knew about it was when I read news reports at the weekend. Read more

John Gapper

How the world re-balances itself. The news this morning that Michael Geoghegan, chief executive of HSBC, is to move to Hong Kong, leaving the bank to be represented in London by Stephen Green, its chairman, reminded me of why HSBC put its chief executive in London in the first place.

HSBC, of course, once rejoiced in its full name – the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation – which I regret that it dropped since it was one of the great names in finance. When it took over Midland Bank in 1992, it was told by the Bank of England that it had to move its headquarters to London. Read more

John Gapper

Paul Volcker is clearly too old and too independent minded to feel any need to avoid criticising the White House and the Treasury, although he has a role in Barack Obama’s administration as chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Mr Volcker has been agitating for some time about what he regards as an inadequate approach to dealing with large financial institutions that combine commercial and investment banking arms. He has called for some form of reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act. Read more

John Gapper

My column in the FT this week is on how to prepare for the next financial crisis:

John Gapper

Google has come up with a clever way of circumventing the barrier to using Skype or other free services on phones. Instead of you dialing out, Google Voice calls your number and simultaneously connects you with the one you want, like an automated assistant.

You either enter the number you want on a computer or you dial up the Google Voice number, enter the one you want to dial, and it connects you. There are some bells and whistles, including automated transcription of voicemail. Read more

John Gapper

Are we supposed to believe that the governing body of Formula One racing had any intention of disqualifying Renault from the sport for deliberately crashing a car in last year’s Singapore grand prix?

The fact that Renault got a suspended sentence is no surprise since the power lay with the team rather than the Fédérational Internationale de l’Automobile. The latter could not afford to lose another team after Honda and BMW pulled out. Read more

John Gapper

The notion that the head of a creative enterprise needs to be creative himself, or herself, has always struck me as dubious, for reasons that I have written about before.

It is certainly dubious that someone needs to be kept at the head of a media organisation because people like them, or they get on well with the talent. That was the justification used by many A&R men in the music industry and is regularly wheeled out elsewhere in the media. Read more

John Gapper

Senator Chris Dodd’s proposal to wrap together various US financial regulatory agencies into one “super-regulator” and squeeze out, or at least reduce the role of, the Federal Reserve, reminds me of something.

It is the decision by Gordon Brown, then the chancellor of the exchequer, in 1997 to strip the Bank of England of its role in banking supervision and to consolidate regulation under the Financial Services Authority. Read more

John Gapper

Hello everyone. I have returned from my break so normal service, whatever that is, is being resumed.